Sexual Violence Against Spanish Woman in India Sparks Public Outrage

Sexual Violence Against Spanish Woman in India Sparks Public Outrage
Accused in the rape case brought in before local court on March 3, 2024. Photo credit ANI

March 12, 2024

Shyamali Kumar

Women’s Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence

A Spanish woman who was travelling with her husband was allegedly gang-raped by seven people in Kurmahat village, Jharkhand, India in early March. The couple was also beaten and robbed of cash and belongings as they resisted the crime. When they approached the police, the language barrier made it difficult for them to report the incident, and they had to resort to using Google translate. The victims were taken to the local Community Health Centre where the gang rape was medically confirmed. Senior police officers detained three people who provided information about the incident and collected forensic evidence. The news spread rapidly on social media, triggering debates on the prevalence of sexual violence in the country. Some activists argue that the media attention even hastened arrests in a country where justice for sexual assault victims has often been slow to come or even non-existent. 

Official government statistics indicate an increase in the reporting of rape cases in recent years. In 2022, India's National Crime Records Bureau cited just over 31,000 cases for a country of 1.3 billion people. Activists in India question the official count. They assert that underreporting of rape is common because of the associated stigma for survivors. According to the 2017 edition of India's National Family Health Survey, four out of five women who have experienced sexual violence never report or disclose the incident.

Government data shows a low conviction rate for people charged with rape, with only 28 out of every 100 receiving jail time. Many cases of rape drag on in courts for years, sometimes for over a decade. Long, physically and emotionally taxing trials, discourage other women from ever coming forward to report.

In this case, the Indian authorities were quick to announce that action was taken swiftly. In addition to the arrests, a check for one million rupees ($12,000) was issued—money from a government fund that allows victims of crime to claim compensation or monetary relief even before the perpetrator is convicted. However, this relief is rare and not extended to all victims, according to Sunitha Krishnan, Founder of Prajwala, a non-governmental organisation that aids victims of sex trafficking.

Sources and further readings:

  1. News18 (March 3, 2024) 'They Wanted To Kill Us': Spanish Woman Gang-Raped in Jharkhand's Dumka Shares Chilling Details on Instagram. Retrieved March 11, 2024 from
  2. Hindustan Times (March 4, 2024) “Spanish woman gang-raped in Jharkhand’s Dumka, three detained”. Retrieved March11, 2024